I tried growing Echinacea in my patio area and they seemed to take off quite
nicely, but knowing nothing about them, I left them alone to do their own
I read somewhere about deadheading them, but didn't do that as I am not
familiar with the practice.
So right now I have the plants in my little plot, looking perfectly dead and
wondering if they will come back in the spring or did my ignorance turn what
should have been a perennial into an annual? How do echinaceas seed and
grow - by the flowers, like marigolds, or some other mechanism?
Even in California, my Echinacea are totally dead-looking right now, and
they will come back strongly in a couple of months. If you're planting
it in a colder climate, it may take longer, but they will come back.
Echinacea has a rhizome and spreads out bigger and stronger every year,
after dying back in the fall. You can also grow it very easily from the
seeds that are in the "cone" that remains when the flowers die out.
Okay, that's certainly reassuring. I was about to clip off the dead flowers
but wasn't sure what effect that would have on them. I was also going to
pull weeds from around them, but not knowing what an echinacea looks like
when just starting out I didn't want to take the wrong thing. It's been
rather warm and wet here (Seattle) lately and the weeds are coming out in
force. I wanted to tag them before they had a chance to establish, and
since I have the day off I can do it at my leisure.
I made the mistake of buying compost from a landscaping yard that apparently
doesn't filter their soil very well - I have more weeds growing up than I
know what to do with.
But hang on a moment. Leave the flowers in place if you want them to produce
seeds. On the other hand, if you want the largest number of flowers for
ornamental reasons, you need to deadhead the faded ones. A google search
using the words "deadhead echinacea" will produce 4890 results. You won't
need to go any further than the first page of results to learn more.
By the way, the plant is a perennial, so unless you kill it somehow, it'll
come back each year after its dormant period. Without knowing where you
live, nobody can tell you any more about the nature of that dormancy period
in your specific garden.
Right, the flowers are probably brown and dry by now, and full of seeds.
You can clip them off and save the seeds or spread them around if you
want your garden covered with them.
The new leaves coming from the old plant with be strong and big and
unmistakable. The first leaf from one growing from seed is dark green
and heart-shaped, anything else is a weed :)
Excellent, thank you very much for clearing that up.
Now that I know what I'm looking for I can pull the weeds and crush the
flowers and spread the seeds.
I ID's the weeds too. Catnip and Galium Aparine, that stuff is EVERYWHERE
in my garden. This very group warned me a year or so back about growing
catnip in my herb garden but did I listen - Noooooo. Oh well I guess I know
what I'll be doing this spring.
I live in zone 5, and I do not dead head my flowers when they are in the
last bloom before frost. Of course, I dead head through the growing season
to encourage more blooms. I leave the seed heads on the plants and the
birds have a heyday during the winter feeding on the seeds. We had some
birds traveling through last week, and the yard was full of various birds
feeding. In a month or more from now we will have some warm days and I will
go out and cut the Echinacea, mums, butterfly bush, monarda, etc. back to
the ground. I will then cover them with mulch and they will start poking
through in late April to early May. Echinacea are very hardy and will
spread with time.
> I tried growing Echinacea in my patio area and they seemed to take off
I grow many Echinacea because they're one of my favourite summer
plants. I do not grow them in pots for fear of our UK winter cold/wet
combo killing them off, as pots left outside do hold far more moisture
than is good for a plant in winter. That said, if they are in pots they
can easily be put under cover somewhere or an old wheel barrow put over
them during the worst winter weather without harm.
Cut the flowers down after flowering and leave alone until the foliage
eventually dies back, then clear away the debris. You should have just
the dried flower stalks on the surface. Then you just have to be
patient for April to arrive.
If you doubt their survival. Just tip the pot out and check the roots.
White firm ones are healthy. Dark sludgey ones are not, remove. This
quick check works with most plants and can save you a lot of wondering.
. . Giving more time for you to obtain their replacement.
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